5 Questions with MSIS Student: Nicolas Griffin

The Master of Science in Information Systems program at the UW Foster School of Business in Seattle is a one-year, work-compatible, accelerated master’s program designed to train current and future business leaders in information systems management.


We asked students to reflect on their MSIS academic experience and share advice for potential applicants. Meet MSIS Class of 2021 student, Nicolas Griffin, Senior Manager of Event Risk Management at Microsoft.

Nicolas GriffinHow have you been able to apply classroom concepts to real-world applications?

Today’s cyber threat landscape impacts organizations at all levels, with risks to tangible and intangible assets.

MSIS 512 and 523 provided me a deep understanding of security trends, vulnerabilities, compliance, and the fundamental issues related to information security from a managerial perspective. Learning about frameworks like the GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) gave me an understanding of how a comprehensive organizational strategy can align IT functions with business objectives. These concepts were reinforced through informative presentations provided by guest lecturers who have experience across a broad range of domains.

Additionally, learning how to extract insights from data has improved my ability to identify, quantify, and measure relevant risk factors. This knowledge allows me to back up intuition with hard data, which increases the overall effectiveness of my recommendations to stakeholders and partners.

Can you share with us how you believe an MSIS degree will give you a competitive advantage?

Since the MSIS program teaches students both technical proficiency and business concepts, I’m confident I’ll have a lot to contribute to my next role. The MSIS 550 course allowed us to learn directly from leaders in IT, which added perspective to concepts we learned in class. All of our core courses use relevant data to drive innovative approaches to solve current business problems. I think the skills gained through these experiences will translate well into today’s job market as organizations navigate the challenges of digital transformation.

What kind of connections have you made in MSIS?

Although we were in virtual classes due to COVID-19, I became good friends with my teammates and the students in my cohort. Their life and work experience added depth to each class. Since many of us experienced job interviews during the program, we consistently provided feedback and encouragement. I think highly of my teammates and frequently reach out for their advice on assignments and professional matters. I’m looking forward to the relationship continuing well past graduation.

Tell us about your MSIS mentorship experience.

The opportunity to have a mentor highly established in IT was one of the key reasons I chose the MSIS program.”

Oksana Beneteau, Partner/Principal at EY, gave excellent insights specific to my career trajectory, which helped me identify and set new goals. Talking through her experiences leading companies and organizations through digital transformation helped drive home concepts we learned in our courses. Having an experienced mentor offer curated advice while acting as a sounding board for my own ideas has helped improve my ability to be an effective leader.

Nicolas GriffinWhat advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying to the MSIS program?

Attend an open house and reach out to the MSIS team with any questions you have.

The program takes dedication and work, but it’s also fun, and you’ll be learning a lot. Managing your time and prioritizing tasks is another skill you’ll definitely acquire. It will continue to be useful throughout your career in the technology industry.

To learn more about the Master of Science in Information Systems program and how you can join our community, contact us today.